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Lake Como: Weekend Itinerary And Things To Do


by Gabrielle Ewell



Italy is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and cultural heritage. Among its many stunning destinations, Lake Como stands out as one of the most enchanting and picturesque spots in the country. Nestled in the Lombardy region, just a short drive from Milan, Lake Como is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty.


Surrounded by majestic mountains and dotted with charming lakeside towns, Lake Como has been a favorite retreat for centuries. Its idyllic setting, crystal-clear waters, and mild climate make it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Whether you are looking for relaxation, exploration, or a mix of both, Lake Como offers a myriad of experiences to suit every traveler.


With its stunning villas, lush gardens, and charming promenades, Lake Como has long been a magnet for artists, celebrities, and nature enthusiasts alike. From the elegant town of Como to the picturesque villages of Bellagio and Varenna, each corner of the lake has its own unique charm and attractions.


This comprehensive weekend itinerary will guide you through the must-see sights and activities around Lake Como. From exploring historic landmarks to taking leisurely boat rides, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of this captivating destination. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on a journey to one of Italy’s most enchanting locations.


Day 1: Arrival and Exploring Como

Your Lake Como adventure begins with your arrival in the charming town of Como. Located at the southwestern tip of the lake, Como is a bustling hub of activity and a perfect place to start your exploration.


Upon arrival, check into your accommodation and take a moment to soak in the stunning views of the lake. Once you’re settled, head out to explore the town’s main attractions. Start your journey at the Piazza Cavour, a bustling square that serves as the heart of Como. Take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade, known as Lungo Lario Trento, and admire the beautiful architecture and picturesque views.


Make your way to the Como Cathedral, a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate details and the stunning panoramic views from the rooftop. Afterward, visit the Tempio Voltiano, a museum dedicated to the life and work of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery.


If you’re a shopping enthusiast, Como’s historic center offers a variety of boutiques, artisan shops, and local markets where you can find unique souvenirs and high-quality Italian fashion.


No visit to Como is complete without taking a funicular ride up to the small town of Brunate. Enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Como and the surrounding area as you ascend into the hills. Once in Brunate, explore the charming streets, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and take in the panoramic views from the viewpoint.


In the evening, savor a traditional Italian dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants in Como. Sample the local specialties, such as risotto cooked with saffron or freshwater fish from the lake.


After a full day of exploring Como, return to your accommodation and relax, ready for the adventures that await you on the following days of your Lake Como itinerary.


Day 2: Boat Tour and Villa del Balbianello

On your second day at Lake Como, embark on a relaxing boat tour to discover some of the most iconic landmarks on the lake. Start the day by hopping on a ferry or renting a private boat and set sail for a day of exploration and breathtaking views.


As you glide across the shimmering waters of Lake Como, admire the stunning villas and charming towns that line its shores. One of the highlights of your boat tour is Villa del Balbianello, an impressive Renaissance-style villa located on a picturesque promontory overlooking the lake.


Arriving at Villa del Balbianello, you’ll be greeted by its enchanting beauty, showcased in films such as “Star Wars” and “Casino Royale.” Explore the lavish gardens and terraces, adorned with blooming flowers and majestic cypress trees. Marvel at the intricate architecture, ornate interiors, and the captivating views of the lake and surrounding mountains.


After visiting Villa del Balbianello, continue your boat tour and take in the natural splendor of Lake Como. Stop at the charming village of Lenno, known for its quaint streets and the beautiful Villa del Balbianello. Take some time to explore the village, wander through the narrow alleyways, and enjoy a leisurely lunch at a lakeside restaurant.


In the afternoon, head to Tremezzo and visit the famous Villa Carlotta. Built in the late 17th century, this neoclassical villa is surrounded by a vast botanical garden, boasting a stunning collection of exotic plants and flowers. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden’s paths, admire the vibrant colors, and revel in the peaceful ambiance.


As the day comes to a close, make your way back to your accommodation, taking in the last glimpses of the breathtaking scenery. Reflect on the beauty and serenity of Lake Como, and anticipate the adventures that await you on the upcoming days of your Italian getaway.


Day 3: Bellagio and Villa Carlotta

On the third day of your Lake Como itinerary, venture into the charming town of Bellagio and immerse yourself in its beauty and timeless elegance. Known as the “Pearl of Lake Como,” Bellagio is situated at the intersection of the lake’s three branches, offering breathtaking panoramas from every angle.


Start your day with a leisurely breakfast at a café overlooking the lake, and then set out to explore the narrow cobbled streets and charming shops of the town center. Admire the well-preserved historic buildings, picturesque churches, and quaint squares.


Make your way to Villa Melzi, a magnificent neoclassical villa with stunning gardens stretching down to the shores of Lake Como. Take a leisurely stroll through the landscaped gardens, adorned with sculptures, exotic plants, and colorful blooms. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and take in the breathtaking views.


After visiting Villa Melzi, embark on a short ferry ride to the nearby village of Varenna. Known for its winding streets, colorful houses, and charming waterfront promenade, Varenna is a delightful place to explore. Wander through the village, visit the beautiful churches, and take in the panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.


Continue your exploration with a visit to Villa Monastero, a historic villa that dates back to the 12th century. Explore the beautiful gardens, with their terraced walkways, ancient trees, and vibrant flowers. Admire the stunning views of the lake and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem.


In the afternoon, return to Bellagio and indulge in a leisurely lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants. Sample the delicious Italian cuisine, savoring the flavors of fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and locally sourced ingredients.


After lunch, take some time to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Bellagio. Wander along the lakefront promenade, visit the shops and boutiques, or simply find a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.


As the day comes to a close, board the ferry back to your accommodation, reflecting on the beauty and charm of Bellagio. Prepare for another exciting day of exploration and discovery on the shores of Lake Como.


Day 4: Varenna and Castello di Vezio

On the fourth day of your Lake Como adventure, venture to the picturesque village of Varenna and explore the historic Castello di Vezio. With its charming streets and stunning views, Varenna offers a delightful setting for a day of exploration.


Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast overlooking the lake, savoring the tranquility and beauty that surrounds you. Afterward, take a stroll through the village, admiring the colorful houses, charming squares, and picturesque alleys. Varenna’s authentic Italian atmosphere will transport you back in time.


Make your way to Villa Cipressi, a magnificent villa located on the lakefront. Explore the meticulously maintained gardens, filled with vibrant flowers, ancient trees, and terraced landscapes. Take in the breathtaking views of the lake and enjoy the peaceful ambiance amidst the beauty of nature.


Next, it’s time to visit the historic Castello di Vezio. Perched atop a hill overlooking Varenna, this medieval castle offers panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains. Take a guided tour of the castle, exploring its ancient walls, towers, and courtyards. Learn about the castle’s fascinating history and enjoy the wildlife sanctuary that surrounds it.


After your visit to the castle, head back to Varenna for a relaxing lunch at one of the lakeside restaurants. Indulge in the local cuisine, savoring the flavors of freshly caught fish, homemade pasta, and traditional Italian dishes.


In the afternoon, take some time to explore the rest of Varenna. Visit the Church of San Giorgio, stroll along the lakefront promenade, and maybe even dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Como.


As the sun begins to set, find a cozy spot to watch the sunset over the lake, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink. Reflect on the beauty of Varenna and the memories you’ve created during your time on Lake Como.


As the day comes to a close, return to your accommodation, grateful for the experiences and moments you’ve enjoyed in Varenna and Castello di Vezio. Rest and recharge, ready for another day of exploration in the enchanting surroundings of Lake Como.


Day 5: Brunate and Cable Car Ride

On the fifth day of your Lake Como itinerary, venture up to the charming town of Brunate and enjoy an exhilarating cable car ride with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains.


Start your day with a leisurely breakfast in your accommodation, fueling up for the adventure that awaits. From your base, make your way to the town of Como and head to the funicular station located near the lakefront.


Board the funicular, a historic railway dating back to 1894, and embark on an unforgettable journey to Brunate. As the funicular ascends, feel the excitement growing as panoramic views of Lake Como and the surrounding landscape unveil before you.


Once you reach Brunate, take a moment to admire the stunning vistas from the viewpoint at Piazza della Funicolare. On a clear day, you can see the shimmering lake, the picturesque towns dotting the shoreline, and the majestic mountains in the distance.


Explore the charming streets of Brunate, with its colorful houses, narrow alleys, and breathtaking lookout points. Visit the Church of San Andrea and marvel at its beautiful frescoes and peaceful atmosphere.


For nature enthusiasts, Brunate offers a variety of hiking trails that lead through the lush forests and hills. Take a leisurely walk amidst the serenity of nature, enjoying the fresh mountain air and the stunning scenery.


After exploring Brunate, make your way back to Como using the funicular. Once in Como, take some time to shop for souvenirs or indulge in a delicious gelato at one of the local gelaterias.


In the evening, enjoy a leisurely dinner in Como, savoring the flavors of traditional Italian cuisine. Choose from a variety of exquisite restaurants offering both local and international dishes, pairing your meal with a glass of fine Italian wine.


As the day comes to an end, reflect on the breathtaking views and memorable experiences you’ve had during your cable car ride to Brunate. Rest and rejuvenate, ready for the final day of your Lake Como getaway.


Day 6: Relaxing at the Lake and Departure

On the final day of your Lake Como itinerary, take the opportunity to relax and soak up the beauty of the lake before bidding farewell to this enchanting destination.


Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast, savoring the last moments of your Lake Como getaway. Find a peaceful spot by the lake, perhaps on a secluded beach or a lakeside terrace, and take in the tranquility of the surroundings.


Spend the day lounging by the water, basking in the warm sun, and enjoying the refreshing lake breeze. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Como, revitalizing your body and immersing yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


If you’re feeling adventurous, consider renting a paddleboard, kayak, or boat to explore the lake at your own pace. Glide across the calm waters, taking in the picturesque views and discovering hidden coves and secluded spots.


For those seeking a more serene experience, consider indulging in a spa treatment at one of the lakeside wellness centers. Relax with a soothing massage, unwind in a luxurious sauna, or take a refreshing dip in a heated pool, rejuvenating your body and mind.


As the afternoon approaches, take a leisurely walk along the lakefront, bidding farewell to the stunning vistas and serene atmosphere of Lake Como. Capture some final photographs to cherish the memories of your time spent in this captivating destination.


In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a lakeside restaurant, savoring the flavors of authentic Italian cuisine one last time. Raise a glass of local wine to toast the beauty of Lake Como and the unforgettable experiences you’ve had during your stay.


After dinner, make your way back to your accommodation to gather your belongings and prepare for your departure. Reflect on the incredible journey you’ve had, the breathtaking landscapes you’ve admired, and the memories you’ve made during your time at Lake Como.


As you bid farewell to Lake Como, carry the essence of this enchanting destination with you, knowing that you’ve experienced a slice of Italian paradise that will forever hold a special place in your heart.